Chevy Trailblazer 2.8 LTZ
In our quest to find the perfect broker wheels ( and ensure that RISKSA is the only magazine you’ll ever need to read) we continue this series of driver impressions. This month we test the Chevrolet Trailblazer. This big Chevy is really something on the r
The space inside the cabin is cavernous. Accommodation varies from two to seven seats with the rear two forwardfacing seats big enough for all but the largest adult. In LTZ 4x4 guise, the Trailblazer sports a BMW- esque central control knob to dial in four- by low range or four- by high range. Not quite on the fly though, the vehicle needs to slow down to under 5 km/ h to complete the procedure. Our test vehicle arrived, fortuitously, just before the 16 June long weekend, and I used the opportunity to load up the family and head off to our farm in the Klein Karoo – where we have just the sort of tracks and roads to put the car through its paces. We left Cape Town in the middle of a deluge in afternoon traffic. An efficient demister complemented the LTZ’s reassuring ride height and wide- bodied stance on the slick roads. The traffic thinned considerably after the Stellenbosch turn- off on the N1, and after naughtily connecting my iPhone to the Bluetooth in- car audio system while driving, I settled down to enjoy all 500 Nm of torque the 2.8 diesel had to offer, and subjected the family to my best road- tripping iTunes playlist. With all the back seat room available, my daughters were able to occupy themselves without encroaching into each others personal space too often – which made for a much more relaxed drive than we are used to. Separate rear air conditioning and reverse sensors with camera, add to a pretty complete spec list for the big four- by.
The problem with testing a vehicle that has been in a test fleet for some time, is that occasionally the vehicle arrives ( with the greatest respect to my fellow motoring scribes) a little, shall we say, hammered? Which is actually a good thing. Ten thousand kilometre’s of hell by motoring journalists will often be a good indicator of how a car will hold up to abuse by kids, family and that camping holiday in Namibia. The Chevy had an annoying wheel balance wobble right on the 120 km/ h mark – probably as a result of some previous journalists off- road work knocking the wheels out of balance, and certainly no reflection of the car’s durability. The test vehicle also had one of the straps on the rear- most seats missing. The strap is used to disengage the seat back from its folded position and without it we were unable to lift the seat at all. In the main, the build quality and trim level is adequate for this sector, but the Chevy is certainly no Land Rover in terms of driver accoutrements and trim levels. The leather seats and plastics are easy enough to wipe down and keep clean though, and despite evidence of its hard life as a test car, the LTZ seemed to be holding up brilliantly. My only disappointment really came on the hills between Ronnie’s Sex Shop on the R62 and Calitzdorp, where, even with 500 Nm at its disposal, the auto box just couldn’t seem to find the right ratio for the incline and hunted up and down the five speed box, looking for the right cogs. Once we were on the farm the LTZ came into its own and shrugged off everything I threw at her. The track behind the farmhouse, which is littered with sizeable boulders and usually elicits shrieks of delight ( or terror) from my girls every time we drive it in my Series II Land Rover game viewer, this time hardly elicited a response from them, as the Chevy’s descent control and decent ride- height made short work of the obstacles. In summary, this is a very capable family car. Big and imposing enough to drive to the FIA awards or industry golf day without looking out of place amongst more expensive German SUV’s. At a shade over R500 000 in test car trim, the difference between the LTZ and lets say an X5 or a Land Rover Disco, will save you enough to put down a deposit on that little place in the country you’ve always dreamed of, so you’ll have somewhere to drive the LTZ to on weekends. Your clients are also not going to wonder about the amount of commission you earn on their policies in the way they might if you had to rock up to their offices in, say, a Porsche Cayenne. If you are looking for a capable 4x4 SUV, you would do well to put the Chevy through its paces after you’ve driven the Toyota Fortuner and the Ford Everest – its two rivals in the car- on- a- bakkieframe segment. I have a feeling you won't be disappointed.